I will park down the road, madam…you can take as many pictures as you want..I will be waiting here,” smiles my taxi driver as he opens the door for me . He had just returned from the Gulf where he says his retail business had gone bust .A couple of busses whiz past and the Needakara bridge fans out in front of me. On either side of the bridge is a fabric of deep blues that merge with the horizon. A flock of kites fly into my path interrupting the seamless blue as they scoop down and then fill the sky. This is where the Ashtamudi lake joins the Arabian Sea . A small fishing hamlet, now a tourist spot with ferries and houseboats – it tells the story of Kerala tourism

The bridge vibrates as busses speed past on their way to Kollam, or Quilon , the erstwhile Designanadu. “You know , madam, there is a proverb in Malayalam which says “Once you have seen Kollam you would no more need your illam (Home)” There were so many palaces here ,it was a very rich town “ he says in a mix of English,Hindi,Malayalam as I get in . He sounds proud to be back, I thought as there was no remorse regarding his homecoming .

I look at my watch and realize that I have just an hour to go . I do not have the time to see the palaces , I tell him and he agrees to take me around the town with two halts – the Kollam beach and the old Thangasherry lighthouse. He continues,” Tourists go to Kochi, Azhapura, Kumarakom , Kovalam, but not many know that this is the original Travancore kingdom. We call it Kollavarsham –the beginning of our Malayalam calendar ..” And that’s where I get my little dose of history.

Kollam,located on the banks of the Ashtamudi lake was once a prosperous ancient sea port, carrying on trade with Chinese , the Romans . Phoenicians ,the Portuguese, Dutch and the British . You take a look at the Chinese nets on the Ashtamudi lake and realize they are reminiscent of the old Chinese settlement that used to be here. It is said that Marco Polo, the Venician traveller, who was in Chinese service under Kublahan in 13th century visited Kollam and other towns on the west coast, as a Chinese mandarin.

The 144 ft tall Light House of Thangasherry look down on me as I see the coastline .The bright afternoon sun does not allow me to linger further . I shut down my guide book and listen to my driver who regales me with more stories.

This story was published in my column, Inside Story on Metro Plus a couple of months ago. The pictures posted here were taken by my husband Sharath . Please do us a favour by clicking on the pictures you like and see the enlarged versions.To see more posts on Kollam and Ashtamudi, click here and here .

I also thought that I could submit this post as a part of Skywatch Fridays, a meme dedicated to the skies worldwide. To see more skies, click here.


  1. sandeep 24 April, 2009 at 16:43 Reply

    deep blue sea and golden sand … beautiful place and a nice report.

    kollam was indeed the big city of kerala. there are proverbs in kerala which kinda alludes ‘u cant get it even in kollam, u cant get it anywhere’

  2. GMG 24 April, 2009 at 20:02 Reply

    Hi Lakshmi! What a wonderful blue! You know how I love it…
    The Markets & Temples post is outstanding!
    The red hot chili peppers are amazing… 😉
    Have a great weekend! I’m going to be busy at the Music Fest (Bach’s legacy… ;))

  3. Chevalier 24 April, 2009 at 20:47 Reply

    Wonderful pictures….I’m never able to get the sky to look so vivid and full of life in my pictures! May I ask what camera you use, and how you took this photograph?

  4. mannab 27 April, 2009 at 08:48 Reply

    I and my wife(both Sr citizens) wish to visit Kerala in Sep’09 for around 4-5 (or more if needed) days. I request your guidance for some of the prominent places to visit. We will be staying at Poovar, where Club Mahindra’s resort is being booked for us (4 days).So, kindly suggest us a few places near bye.(I read your post on Poovar and I have noted its contents.)
    Mangesh & Sushama Nabar

  5. PN Subramanian 28 April, 2009 at 19:17 Reply

    Great pictures. The entire costline is amazing. Kollam was really the capital in the past. Kollavarsham does not seem to have originated from here. Probably it was Mahodayapuram. Thanks.

  6. Baron's Life 2 May, 2009 at 17:34 Reply

    Love the first picture so much I keep staring at it…my wife says: why are you looking at your computer screen so intently…Is there a sexy girl on it…I say …It’s the water, the Sea, La mer, it’s Life..Thank you so much for sharing and showing us that yes, there is beauty everywhere…even in a bridge!

  7. Allen 14 May, 2009 at 18:38 Reply

    Nice Blog!!!!
    Hi, this is very informative blog and it help us to know about the Indian culture. In this blog u select very beautiful pictures.

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